Pride of Sussex leaves

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 3 August 2010 18:32

Don't panic, Round-headed Rampion is still very much here.  I had a request to show someone the leaves of this plant and couldn't resist the pun. This flower, also known as The Pride of Sussex and the flower of Sussex, is quite abundant on The Downs although it is nationally scarce and has a very restricted south-easterly distribution. The leaves are pretty distinctive, with tiny white dots at the tip of the gently serrated edges. It's an important one to know how to ID when just in leaf as the plants are often not in flower. Malling Down has many of these and I took these shots today whilst repeating some fixed-point photography.

I managed to get a shot of this smart little hoverfly, Chrysotoxum bicinctum feeding on Wild Carrot. There has also been a young Cuckoo there the last few days, as well as the leucisitic Kestrel and a  few Willow Warblers.
As I was scrambling back up the Coombe I finally noticed a 'marked' Silver-spotted Skipper (see yesterday's blog for more details). I did not have my net on me but amazingly managed to catch it with just a pot! I called Crispin over and we figured out it was specimen number 691. Once I know where and when it was originally caught I will calculate how far it has moved and it's mean velocity over that time. How cool is that?! It was less active after we let it go again and allowed this shot.

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